Remembering the Bus Ride Home

“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting it is.”
Arnold Palmer 


     It was the worst bus ride you’ve ever experienced in your life. The game was over and the outcome was not what you expected.  You dreamed of that bus ride from Lawrence, Kansas to Junction City, Kansas to be much different.  You dreamed of riding home a state champion.  Yes your opponent had the best quarterback in the state.  Yes your opponent had a much bigger school.  Yes your opponent was favored to win.  However in your dream your team won. 

     You dreamed your team would win because the team had checked all the boxes.  The team made it through the grueling two-a-days at the beginning of the season. Those practices were brutal and tested everyone’s resolve to continue but you and the team made it through. You put in the work practice after practice to prepare to play and win every Friday night.

 Although you lost a couple of games, you won the important games. You beat your rival who had owned you for the past few years.  When the playoffs started no one could stop you.  Your coaches made the right adjustments and the players gave the right effort.  You were winners and you proved that with each win that led to the state championship game.

     When the championship game started your team continued to win.  You shut down the best quarterback in the state.  You imposed your dominance and were winning the game at halftime.  When the second half started your dream fell apart. Your team made an amazing 4thdown goal line stance only to fumble the ball on your first play from the half-yard line.  Your team also fumbled a punt return after forcing your opponent to punt when it seemed they were gaining momentum.     

     You couldn’t comeback from those mistakes because your opponent controlled the ball the rest of the game by running a play you just couldn’t stop.  You gave every ounce of effort you had to take out the pulling guard who weighed 50 more pounds than you only to watch the running back gain 4 to 5 yards each attempt.  When the final whistle blew you had left it all on the field but you weren’t a champion. You were the runner up and it hurt terribly.  You cried as you walked off that field because you knew your dream did not come true. 

A Lasting Memory 

     31 years later and that memory of the bus ride home is still strong.  You will never forget how you felt that day.  How could you?  You had a dream and that dream did not come true.  You put in the work.  You made the sacrifices.  You gave it your all and yet, you still did not win the championship.  

  Funny thing is we are talking about the game of football, high school football to be exact.  Decades later do you have that same story about the game of life?  Have you won any championships?  Have you had dreams of winning something in your life?  Have you put in the work and made the sacrifices to make those dreams come true?  Do you have a story to tell that hurts as bad as losing the high school state football championship?

What Championship?

     Odds are you don’t.  Odds are you haven’t defined what a championship win is defined as in your life. With life it is not as clear as organized sports.  With organized sports you play games or have events and at the end of the season someone has to win.  How you win will vary based on the sport but someone will be champion.  There are no grey areas.  Either you are the champion or you are not.  The outcome is simple but the work is hard.

     Your life should be no different.  However for some reason many have not made the effort to make the outcome simple.  The work is always hard and since the outcome is not well defined many avoid the hard work. It is just easier that way.  We don’t know what it means to win championships in our own life work.  

      Do you disagree?  There is no doubt that many of you will disagree.  Let’s take some examples.  There are many aspects in life that you can be a champion.  One of those aspects is your relationship with others.  What does it mean to be a champion when it comes to your relationships?  If you are married or desire to be married, do you know what it means to be a champion in that marriage?  Have you defined the outcome that makes you a champion?

     We all have career aspirations.  Have you defined what it means to win a championship in your career?  Is that outcome you being your own boss and calling the shots at your own company? Is that outcome earning a 401K that is so large you can travel the world comfortably until the day that you leave this earth?  Is that outcome becoming a leader who is known for their exemplary leadership skills throughout the industry?

     What does a financial championship look like to you? Have you defined it?  Is it being in the black and having more assets than debt? Is it having enough money to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it?  Is it being able to comfortably donate 20% of your earnings and still be financially free?  Is it making $300,000 a year in salary and bonus?

Practice and Wins

  As you sit and contemplate what a championship means in all those areas do not quit.  It is critical you define the championship outcome because once you do you can now determine the work you will need to do to achieve them.  The work you need to do will be synonymous with the practice that you attended in sports. You also will have to define the achievements that let you know that you are getting closer to the championship.   Those achievements will be synonymous with the games and events that lead up to the championship game in sports.

     Organized sports made it easy to determine who the champion was at the end of a season.  Winning at life is not always as easy to define.  However that is your job to do and you are up for the challenge.  If you don’t meet that challenge you will never be champion.  Don’t you want to have that bus ride home that you always dreamed of?  Don’t you want to accomplish something that you set out to accomplish?  Take the time today to determine what winning looks like in your life.

Take Action Now

     Once you determine what winning looks like in your life you can then take the right actions necessary to make that dream a reality. Every day you can be Decisively Intent on the actions you decide to take.  Every day you can remind yourself that you are a creator and Creators Create. By taking the right actions along with the right intent you can create the championship of your dreams.

      However, the first step is to define what a championship means to you.  This is your life and you own it.  You are not relying on a rulebook created by a state organization to define who becomes champion.  You have the opportunity to define your own championship and then go out and get it. You don’t want to relive that tragic bus ride home ever again.  You want to actually live the dream that you have decided is yours to own.  You want to ride the championship bus home.  This is your reminder to do so.  Get out your journal and define your championships and then go out and achieve them.  If you are going to play the game of life you might as well play to win.  As always I wish you the best and remind you to enjoy the journey.


With Gratitude,


1 comment

Christopher Colbert

Yes, I cried. I can still remember who recovered the ball for a touchdown, Ernie Norwood. I remember Jeff Cunningham take out a kicker because the whistle was late. Mitch Waley putting a guy on his back like Bo Jackson on his way to the endzone. Matt Flaschbarth being bent over backwards. All the injuries on a defense and maybe the replacements weren’t as talented, they did their best. It was a long ride home. But it was a great ride.

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